Posts Tagged ‘Americans With Disabilities Act’

KFC Restaurant Ousted Employee Because She Took Meds for Bipolar Disorder, Alleges EEOC

It’s against the law for an employer to force an employee to forego medical treatment or stop taking prescription drugs as a condition for keeping their job.

That’s what the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is alleging happened to an employee who worked at a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant franchise in Dublin, Ga.

According to the EEOC, restaurant operator, Hester Foods, Inc., Hester Foods’ owner violated the Americans With Disabilities Act when it fired restaurant manager Cynthia Dunson in July 2015 when he found out that she was taking medications prescribed by her doctor for bipolar disorder.

The restaurant owner referred to Dunson’s medications in obscene terms, the EEOC said, and made her destroy her medications by flushing them down a toilet at the restaurant. When Dunson later told the owner that she planned to continue taking the medications per her doctor’s orders, the owner told her not to return to work and fired her.

“Managers and owners cannot force employees to forego medical care or prescribed medications to keep their job,” said Bernice Williams-Kimbrough, director of the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office.

Antonette Sewell, regional attorney for the Atlanta District Office, added, “Whether an employee works for a large corporation or a local restaurant, she has a right to be protected from discriminatory actions by employers. We want employers of all sizes to understand their duties under the law and for employees to report such actions when they occur.”‘

The EEOC announced the suit’s filing on Monday, June 12.

For a refresher on disability discrimination, click here.

EEOC Lawsuit Accuses Big Lots Store in W. Va. of Harassment of Employees With Disabilities

The Big Lots store in Elkins, West Virginia is inhospitable to workers with disabilities, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

In this Americans With Disabilities Act lawsuit filed yesterday, the EEOC charges that a retail employee with hearing and speech disabilities was subjected to harassment by her co-workers at Big Lots’ Elkins, W.V., store.

Co-workers often mocked the employee’s hearing disability and manner of speech, and frequently used derogatory and highly offensive terms in reference to her and her disabilities.

Numerous Big Lots officials were aware of the long-standing pattern of disability harassment taking place at their store but failed to take appropriate action to end the harassment and prevent it from recurring, the EEOC asserts. Additionally, the EEOC charges that Big Lots refused to select the employee with disabilities for several vacant jobs that she sought at the store because of her disabilities and in retaliation for her reporting of the harassment to company officials and to the EEOC.

Further, the EEOC’s lawsuit also charges that Big Lots subjected a department manager without disabilities at the Elkins store to discrimination and retaliation by changing her work schedule and withdrawing its permission for her to hold outside employment with the U.S. Postal Service, thereby forcing her to quit in order to save her Postal Service career. The EEOC says that Big Lots punished the department manager because of her long-term association with the harassment victim and in retaliation for her opposition to discrimination, such as her efforts to protect her co-worker from harassment by reporting the hostile work environment to Big Lots management officials and human resources. Big Lots officials also subjected both the harassed employee and the department manager to intimidation, threats, coercion, and interference with their exercise and enjoyment of rights protected by federal anti-discrimination law, according to EEOC’s lawsuit.

For a refresher on disability and harassment from the EEOC, click here.

$106K Settlement Concludes ADA Suit Alleging Medical Exam Cost Applicant Permanent Job

It took more than a year to wrap up, but the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission this week obtained recompense for a job applicant who was denied a permanent job with an Oklahoma company allegedly on the basis of a questionable use of information obtained during preemployment medical exam.

The EEOC filed this Americans With Disabilities Act lawsuit in February 2016 against UPCO Claremore, an Okla.-based manufacturer of sucker rods and accessories for the oil and gas industry,

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Lydia Summers began working as a temporary receptionist and assisting in the accounting department. After five months, UPCO made Summers a conditional offer of full-time, permanent employment, conditioned on Summers passing a pre-employment medical exam conducted by a third-party vendor. Following the exam, the vendor’s physician, who never examined or questioned Summers, refused to approve her for employment with UPCO because of the supposed side effects of her prescription medications. Even after Summers provided UPCO with a letter from her personal physician stating that she was not impaired by her medications, UPCO rescinded its job offer, the EEOC alleged.

The EEOC announced yesterday that UPCO has settled the lawsuit for $106,000.

To learn more about what’s allowed in preemployment examinations under the ADA, click here.

EEOC Sues on Behalf of Paraplegic Job Applicant Denied Customer Service Support Job

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed an Americans With Disabilities Act lawsuit on behalf of a job applicant who it says was denied employment with a customer service support provider because she is a paraplegic.

The applicant had applied for a job with Asurion, LLC, a customer service support provider for electronic devices, its former Meridian, Miss., location.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Lakisha Person applied for a customer care representa­tive position online. After reviewing her application, Asurion telephoned Person to discuss her interest in and avail­ability for a position at its Meridian location.

According to the EEOC, when the Asurion interviewer learned that Person was paralyzed from the waist down, the interviewer abruptly ended the interview without inquiring into her skills and relevant work experience. Asurion rejected her for the position shortly thereafter, the EEOC said.

“The ADA prohibits employers from refusing to hire qualified applicants based on myths, fears or stereotypes concerning certain impairments,” said Delner Franklin-Thomas, director of the EEOC’s Birmingham District Office, which has jurisdiction over Alabama, most of Mississippi and the panhandle of Florida. “The applicant in this case was extremely qualified and deserved the opportunity to be judged based on her abilities instead of her impairment.”

EEOC Regional Attorney Marsha Rucker added, “Employers cannot refuse employment to a person simply because she has a disability. The EEOC will vigorously protect the rights of persons with disabilities to ensure that they have access to the same opportunities for advancement in the workplace as anyone else.”

The EEOC filed the lawsuit on May 4.

$65K Settlement in ADA, Title VII Suit Charging Bias in Black Disabled Employee’s Transfer

A Peoria, Ill., Chevrolet dealership will pay $65,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination and retaliation lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced on April 25.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Green Chevrolet violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by forcing an employee to transfer to a position that had never previously existed when the company learned that the employee was experiencing kidney failure and would require regular dialysis treatment. The EEOC also alleged that when the black employee resisted his transfer by explaining that he was healthy enough to continue working his sales advisor job and by asking why the company did not “get a white guy” to do the new job, the company fired him in retaliation for this opposition.

Under the consent decree settling the suit, entered by Judge Michael M. Mihm, Green Chevrolet will pay the former employee $65,000. In addition, the decree prohibits Green Chevrolet from engaging in disability discrimination or retaliation in the future. The decree also requires the company to train its managers about the requirements of the ADA and Title VII and to report complaints of disability or race discrimination to the EEOC.

“The EEOC is pleased that this employer has agreed to train its managers on the requirements of the ADA and Title VII,” said Julianne Bowman, the EEOC’s district director in Chicago. “We always prefer to prevent discrimination from occurring in the first place, rather than trying to seek a fix after the fact.”

EEOC Regional Attorney Gregory Gochanour noted that the settlement was negotiated before the parties engaged in extended litigation or pretrial discovery.

Gochanour said, “We are gratified by Green’s determination to work with the EEOC to quickly resolve the case by providing compensation to its former employee and undertaking measures to assure future compliance with the ADA and Title VII. Early resolution of cases benefits everyone – the discrimination victims, the employers, the EEOC and the courts.”

Sent Packing: Company Forced Medical Exam on Employee, Then Fired Him, EEOC Alleges in Suit

A packaging company compounded its initial violation of a disabled employee’s rights by then firing him because of his disability, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleged in an ADA lawsuit filed yesterday.

According to the lawsuit, Justin Cadmus had worked for ten years as a press helper for Impressions Incorporated, a St. Paul-based design, printing and packaging company, and was rated a top performer.  In 2014, Cadmus was diagnosed by his family doctor with depression.  His supervisor became aware that he had ceased taking medication for the depression, and, in April 2015, told him to see a doctor and then to see a psychologist, and to go back on medication.  Although Cadmus complied with these unlawful directives which were not justified by business necessity, he was fired because of his depression.

“Employers cannot require employees to have unnecessary medical and psychological examinations or require the employee to obtain prescription drugs as a condition of continued employment,” said Greg Gochanour, the regional attorney for the EEOC’s Chicago District Office. “Mr. Cadmus should not have been asked to take the two examinations in the first place, but he did so, and yet he was fired anyway. This com­pany’s behavior was inexcusably callous as well as unlawful, and the EEOC is here to combat such unfair conduct.”

To learn more on the do’s and don’ts of medical examinations under the ADA, click here.

Settlement in EEOC’s ADA Suit Against Hospital Over Nonaccommodation of Disabled Therapist

Another employer has thought better of fighting the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in court over its denial of a reasonable accomodation to a disabled employee.

A Maryland hospital has settled for $179,576 an Americans With Disabilities Act lawsuit alleging it refused to grant a disabled therapist a reasonable accommodation and then fired him, the EEOC announced on April 27.

According to this lawsuit filed last September by the EEOC, nine years before starting working as a respiratory therapist at MedStar, Jerome Alston received a kidney transplant due to renal failure. As a result, he is required to take medication which compromises his immune system and increases his risk of infection.

Due to his weakened immune system, MedStar gave Alston a “work-around” which excused him from working in negative pressure rooms, which are isolation rooms with a mechanical ventilation system designed to trap infectious airborne materials, the EEOC said.

Pregnant employees were given similar work-arounds. In November 2013, however, when Alston requested such a work-around, MedStar refused and abruptly terminated him because of his disability, EEOC charged.

“Health care providers, like all employers, must be mindful of the obligation to provide a reasonable accommodation that allows an employee with a disability to remain employed,” said EEOC Philadelphia District Office Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. “It’s not only a good employment practice to retain loyal and productive workers; it’s required by federal law.”

I wrote about the lawsuit when it was filed last September.